MTA Board votes to green light bus network redesign plan

MTA, buses
The MTA announced Dec. 15 that the MTA Board approved the Bronx Local Bus Network Redesign Plan, that is now expected to be implemented in summer 2022.
Photo Pablo D. Castillo Jr.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced Dec. 15 that following an extensive public consultation period the MTA Board approved the Bronx Local Bus Network Redesign Plan — the MTA’s first boroughwide redesign of a local bus network to fit the needs of today’s riders. This transformative plan improves local, limited and Select Bus Service routes, and is expected to be implemented in summer 2022. There are currently no changes to Bronx express routes.

The redesigned bus network will offer Bronx and upper Manhattan residents a more direct, efficient and reliable bus service that provides better connections, with increases in service, including during off-peak periods. The redesign plan included a robust consultation process that incorporated the comments of elected officials, community organizations, and a diverse range of riders of all backgrounds.

“The MTA is committed to transit equity,” said MTA Acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “Faster buses, more efficient routes, and a bus network that fits how and where New Yorkers want to travel — that’s how we are going to bring jobs, education, and opportunity to every community.”

Increased Frequency of Buses by Building an All-Day Frequent Network 

Bus service during off-peak periods has been bolstered to provide service consistently throughout the day, which allows for easy and flexible travel. Frequent service allows customers to change plans and rely on the transportation network.

More Direct Routings

Streamlined routes bring bus customers to key destinations at a faster pace because buses avoid congested areas and travel on direct routes. Routes that have significant number of turns and take roundabout paths are slower in speed.

Balanced Bus Stop Spacing 

Too many bus stops too close together significantly slow down bus service and worsen reliability. New York City’s bus stops are closer together than most other cities across the country and around the world. Removing a bus stop can save up to a minute or more of travel time for everyone on the bus.

Enhanced Connectivity 

Many bus customers, especially those in the Bronx, make transfers to reach their final destinations. This plan works to enhance east-west connectivity across the borough by facilitating transfers and reducing wait times for buses. Four routes will be extended and three will make key connections to subway stations with free transfers.

The redesign of the Bronx Bus Network will improve travel times and bus reliability for bus customers in the borough. The MTA will continue to monitor ridership patterns and incorporate necessary changes in the bus network to better match bus service with current and future travel demands.

“The most valuable thing in the world is time,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “When folks are going two or three hours to and from work or school that’s time taken away from their lives and families. I have to thank the MTA and New York City Transit for how you’ve treated my borough and the leadership of my borough on the Bronx Bus Redesign.”

Improving Accessibility 

Improving accessibility to the bus network is a top priority. The MTA will continue to roll out more than 500 buses with more flexible seating options in 2022. The new buses feature wider doors and ramps designed to make it easier to enter and exit the bus.

Expanding and Bolstering Bus Lanes 

The MTA and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) agree that bus lanes and busways are among the most effective tools for increasing bus speeds. Starting in 2022, DOT will embark on major projects to add or improve 20 miles of bus lanes, including up to five new busway pilots, new bus lanes, and transit signal priority.

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